Sunday, March 25th

In no way, do I claim to be any kind of vegan or vegetarian. I enjoy an occasional buffalo wing, chicken McNugget, fried chicken sandwich… which also proves I’m not any kind of health nut. I’m not here to preach about how we’re destroying the planet by consuming so much meat. It may be true, but that’s not what is on my mind when I opt for the veggy burger over the meat. I’m not here to try to convince anyone that my way of living/eating is better than theirs and they should be like me.

My goal is to share the fact that meatless meals are not an impossibility. It’s NOT hard at all! In fact, at least for me, it’s actually easier because I always hated cooking my own meat. But that’s me, it was always gross to me. And the clean up was grosser than just wiping something down, because you have to worry so much about being sanitary. Raw meat touching something, and then the food goes bad within days. Seems like such a big hassle for little payout.

My other goal is to share the benefits. Obviously, it’s cheaper. I can thrive on $40/wk for groceries, EASILY. But some other benefits I’ve noticed since I started not consuming meat during every single meal, ever:

  • Clearer skin. When I DO get pimples, it’s obviously because I either haven’t washed my face in days or I ate meat. And they don’t last as long.
  • Stronger nails. This is gross and I would never type the beginning of this sentence if I weren’t able to type the end of it: I used to have yellowy, ripply toenails. They were always like that, my entire life, so I thought it was just the way it is. My toenails are beautiful right now, white, smooth, and strong. And my fingernails grow fast and don’t break as easily.
  • Another gross thing I really probably shouldn’t put on the internet but will anyway: my BM’s are totally more regular. So much so, that my body works like an alarm clock every morning. And I can bounce out of bed pretty quickly. šŸ™‚
  • Cravings. The more you eat good-for-you things, the more you crave them. The less you crave garbage. I will always love potato chips, that is a life long love. But pizza flavored combos? I can live without.
  • Hunger. I know how to fill myself up with grains and veggies. I don’t find myself starving in the middle of the day. Half the time, I’m not even that hungry to eat lunch but I do anyway. And I usually have a pretty light dinner. Usually, not always!

I don’t know how long it’s been. There’s not really a time to be measured, because like I said, I don’t even consider myself a vegan. I will still eat meat on occasion. I’ll still eat cheese, even though it makes me feel like there’s an alien inside my belly, trying to claw it’s way out. It’s as simple as I can’t remember the last time I bought some meat in a grocery store. And I like it that way. That’s what works for me. There’s no strictness to my diet, I just try to lean towards what’s easiest and most beneficial for ME.

And when I have a nacho cheese craving, I pull out some potatoes & carrots. I’m not joking! This is my favorite cheese sauce recipe. The best part is, I always have all those ingredients on hand.

Sunday, March 18th

Sunday, March 18th

Today, I tried romanesco for the first time ever (feature photo). It’s so pretty, looks like little Christmas trees, has the taste of broccoli with the texture of cauliflower. Would buy again.

I’ve talked about Meal Mentor here before. Now, I’d like to share a few photos of dishes made from one of those meal plans. I actually remembered to take photos this time!

For anyone who is also following the meal plans, this is not the current week’s plan, I’m pulling from last week’s plan. That way, I have all week long to figure out what groceries I need and where to get my groceries.

I am a member of Imperfect Produce, mostly because I am a huge fan of their mission. They take all the produce that grocery stores don’t sell because they are ugly, overstocked, too small, weird color, weird shape, etc. and sell it for super cheap. I get to pick and chose what items I want before the box comes, I’m charged by weight. It’s always under $20, even when I get almost everything. And I get the warm fuzzy feeling of reducing food waste!


I’ll usually add whatever produce they’re offering that week that matches what’s on the meal plan. My picks have to be in by Tuesday night, and the new meal plans don’t come out til Wednesday. So, my perfect solution is to just go with last week’s plan.

I will also shop at Whole Foods, but try my damnedest to keep myself only in the bulk section. I like Whole Foods when I need to stock up on beans, grains, various spices. I don’t like Whole Foods when I need literally anything else. I wish we had more bulk stores in Chicago, or maybe we do and I don’t know about them. In that case, I wish someone would school me, because I want to buy things in bulk!!

Anyway, that was some rambling. On to photos!

Bollywood sweet potatoes – there’s mashed sweet potatoes under that mixture of spinach, peppers, carrots, zucchinis and lentils.

Cruciferous Curry – lil green to celebrate St Patty’s day. I’m a bit weary of this green stuff because it’s got cilantro in it, but I told myself I’d give the damn herb another shot.

Greek-style Tomato Stew – I actually forgot to toss the chickpeas in at the end, so that’s why they seem to be floating on top. Not pictured: a vegan “feta” dressing to go in once it’s warmed up.

Skinny Alfredo – this was a hit & a miss. I had an old TINY spaghetti squash to use up and this was supposed to take care of that. Unfortunately, the sauce turned out to be so incredibly plentiful that I had to improvise by adding linguine. It also called for green peas, which I also did not have enough for this massive amount of sauce.

There’s a couple more, but I either forgot to photo or the photo isn’t very pretty and not worth sharing. Before I even got started making anything, I made my own homemade hummus and almond milk, both to be used in these recipes. That was the first time I went to those lengths and it wasn’t so bad, might keep that up if I can help it.

I also made my own enchilada sauce the other day that was sooo delicious. I don’t think I’ll ever buy enchilada sauce again. Sometimes, doing that little extra instead of popping open a can is what makes the meal that much more worthwhile.


Saturday, March 17th

I really love using face cleansing pads. Washing your face is a pain in the ass with a tiny sink, in a bathroom too narrow to even bend all the way over. So, when not showering, I usually use face wipes. I had just recently run out of some. And decided to try making my own. There’s a million recipes out there, it’s actually kind of overwhelming. I decided to combine a few of them and came up with this:

  • 1/4 c witch hazel
  • 2 T almond oil
  • 1 t vitamin E
  • 3 drops of lavender oil
  • 3 drops of frankincense oil

Witch hazel is supposed to be great for inflammation, clearing out pores, and blackheads. Balancing skin moisture. All kinds of benefits, I just know when I pop a zit and rub some witch hazel on it, it goes away pretty quickly.

Almond oil is just a softer option than coconut oil. I’ve read coconut oil can be oily, which makes sense. And I’m already pretty oily on my own. I’m also running low on coconut oil, so why not? Almond oil is naturally antibacterial and cleansing, it supposedly combats UV damage as well.

Vitamin E has “skin lightening” affects and is healing of scars. Supposedly anti-aging, it’s beneficial for the entire body, inside and out. I used to just use it straight as lotion sometimes, but again, oil is a bit… oily. Who knew?

Lavender essential oil is calming, but it also has all kinds of other good qualities. It’s anti-bacterial as well, so that makes it good for a face wash. It also helps with eczema, something I’m paranoid that I have, every time I itch.

Frankincense is like, the best essential oil out there. On the face, it should help prevent age spot, wrinkles, and dry skin. Everything I’ve read says it’s best combined with lavender because they have a lot of the same qualities and blend well together.

I’ve been letting the cotton pads soaked all day so haven’t actually tried it out yet. If this one doesn’t work/isn’t what I like, there are a plethora of other options to try!

I also made my own almond milk. Soaked one cup of almonds in boiling water for an hour, drained them. Blended in the blender with enough water to cover the almonds, then strained it all into a bowl. Once all the milk strained out, I poured it into a mason jar and filled it up with more filtered water. It’s that easy. I only needed about a cup for some recipes, but this made 2 cups.

I’m planning on using that leftover almond pulp for some home granola. This will be a first try, and I can’t decide on what kind of flavorings and spices, so I think I’ll go with good ol trusty cinnamon & honey. But if it’s no good, again, millions of other varieties out there. I will try again!

Side note: I forgot to weigh myself Wednesday morning. And I did not like the number I saw Wednesday evening. So, I’m just skipping it this week. Next week, I will remember! I set an alarm for myself. Nothing too exciting on the workout front either. I swam about 40 laps Thursday and that felt amazing. The rest was basic and I’d just be repeating myself. I think I’ll add on some additional weights next week.


Sunday, March 11th

I still have a few meals leftover from last week, so I made a smaller batch for this week. I had a few ingredients laying around forever, just waiting to be used up. That’s what these four meals did:

Coconut Cauliflower Curry: This is a curry dish with potatoes and cauliflower. I am loving Indian lately, it’s not hard to impress yourself with a homemade Indian dish. It’s all about the spices. And I am always down for spicy potatoes.

Winter Panzanella: This has roasted brussel sprouts, butternut squash, corn, peas, cranberries, and chunks of bread. All covered in a balsamic, mustardy sauce. I’ve never made panzanella before. It feels so random, but will probably be delicious!

Enchilada Burritos: I only made the filling for these, for now. Zucchini, black beans, rice, and tomatoes. Some night this week, I will stuff the filling in a couple tortillas, cover em in enchilada sauce, and pop em in the oven. Still technically cooking at night/after work, but the majority of it is already done, so it’ll be real quick.

Purple Monster Salad: I had some oranges and beets to use up. Throw in some quinoa and you got yourself a salad.

I forgot to take any photos during the process, so have a look at my dirty oven.

I wanted to share with Marc that I was able to fit FOUR sheet pans in there, at once. FOUR!

Saturday, March 10th

I am the kinda person who gets stressed out by clutter. It honestly affects me, emotionally. That is not to say that I don’t collect a lot of things. I am a bit of a hoarder, but an incredibly organized one. If I can collect something and neatly pack it away, that makes me happy. Even if I never see that thing again, it feels nice that it’s organized and neatly put away. Ya see, the thing is, that’s hoarding, in every sense of the word. So, for the past few months, I’ve been trying to unload all my…. shit.

Today, I went through all my “beauty products”. This includes nail polish, samples of make up I never wear, foundation that doesn’t even match my skin, 10 tubes of mascara I’ve literally never touched, etc. I have a buncha lil samples of shampoo, conditioner, lotions. I condensed em all into one container for each. That’s probably sacrilege for some of those brands, but I’m done with all these tiny travel sizes of bottles I never want to take and use up. I know if it’s all in one container, I will use that shit up, and it’ll finally get outa here. Plus, look how cute this lotion looks in an old jam jar:

I don’t care that there’s all kinds of smells in that jar. I know myself and I know I am more likely to actually use it all up this way. In a central location, clear container, I can dip my whole hand in there and slather it on. Not in tiny lil tubes I need to use up one by one, that are hard to squirt out. I did the same for the shampoos, conditioners, body wash, and lotions made specifically for the face. All thrown together into one container, no matter what brand, smell, purpose, it got mixed in with all the rest.

It felt so good to throw away all those tiny travel sized bottles and dumb make ups I never even think of using. I kept going, on to the earrings I never wear, the necklaces that I actually hate but still have for some reason, the bracelets that have never been worn. The millions of unused hair ties, how many hair ties does a girl need!? The hair clips I have never used even one single time. The tiny to medium to big sized combs, why so many combs? I barely even brush my hair. Get outa my life!

This freed up so much space for me to better enjoy the products that I actually do love using. Opening up even more space in our “closet room”.

Reminiscent of the clothing dump I did a couple months ago. Getting dressed in the mornings is less painful when there are less options that you HATE, staring you in the face. I was holding on to clothes I wanted to like, wanted to fit me again, or never actually did fit me in the first place. Clothes I thought were valuable, even if I had no interest whatsoever in wearing them. Shoes that hurt my feet to even look at. Underwear that never fit me but I was too lazy to return. Pantyhose with big old holes in them! What? Why??

Besides the obvious benefit of freeing up SPACE. Space to Breathe! Space to think! This practice makes me more mindful of what I bring home. Items I purchase. I’m always looking at lotions, shampoos, hair products, without even considering the plenty I already own. Why should I buy more of anything when I’m not valuing what I already have? This is especially true of the clothes, I (and I’m sure I’m not alone here) am always thinking “I have nothing to wear”. When in fact, I have weeks of clothes to wear. Even after getting rid of 60% of my wardrobe, I still probably own a month’s worth of clothes I could wear without doing any laundry… for a whole month! That is NOT “nothing to wear”.

Because of this (and this audiobook I recently listened to), I’ve decided to challenge myself to a month of No Shopping. I started March 1st and right now, it’s going so great, I’m already considering going longer. I was planning to grocery shop today, but decided instead, to opt for using up ingredients that are already here.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to deprive myself of necessities, fun things, and wonderful experiences. So, I created a list of things I will allow myself to spend money on, without any guilt:

  • Groceries
  • Uber when I just can’t deal with the bus, but only when it’s under $3 for a shared ride.
  • Experiences. This includes:
    • Eating out, as long as it’s with someone and not just a lazy lunch.
    • Entertainment, like a comedy show or movie, date night.
    • Travel, obviously.
  • My monthly, totally unnecessary expenses:
    • Clothing rental. Renting clothes keeps me from buying clothes.
    • for audiobooks – this gets me 1 free book/month. This could’ve gone in the entertainment category too.
    • Gym, but I have to keep up with going!
    • I recently signed up for a couple monthly “plant” boxes that I haven’t even received yet, I might cancel after a few. But for now, I can’t wait to see what they send and hope I don’t kill it.
  • Any products related to making something, myself. This no shopping has had the unexpected effect of making me interested in DIYing. I’ve already made hand soap and a face wash that I am LOVING.

I’ve gotten rid of so much junk in my apartment already. I think if I’m able to let go of anything more, I am going to document it. Because everything I have right now are things I didn’t want to let go of the first time I made a sweep. That doesn’t mean I won’t want to get rid of it in the future though. I remember a time when everything I owned fit into a 2-door car and a truck, and even then, I had a buncha junk. No one needs this much stuff, but damn does it feel good to unload it.

Wednesday, March 7th

This week, I am super proud of myself for getting up and going to workout on Sunday morning. I bounced out of bed really early and just decided to go. It felt so great, I had tons of energy, and got tons of stuff done afterwards. It was doubly great because I ended up NOT going last Thursday & Friday, like I had planned. So, I feel like this made up for that.

I also love the city that early in the morning on a Sunday. Nobody is out. Everything’s quiet. I had to wait 15 minutes for a bus that usually comes every 5 minutes, during the times I need it. And then no one was even on it. You pass by the areas that are usually traffic jams and they’re empty. Feels like a ghost town. And then, the best part? You get to the gym and that place IS a ghost town! I had the whole locker room to myself. So, I ran around naked, singing at the top of my lungs.

Kidding. I’d never.

Anyway. Here’s my accountability for this week. I’ve not added any extra weight yet because I’m giving my body some time to adjust from being dormant forever. And while on topic of the weights, I’m only focusing on upper body right now because I don’t want to push it with my foot, it still gets swollen from walking. I don’t wanna be pushing pounds with a sensitive foot.

That’s sort of an excuse, I’m aware there are plenty of things I can do with my legs without putting pressure on my feet, I just don’t wanna right now, alright?!?


  • 30 minutes cardio
  • 5 min rowing machine
  • 30 lb arm extensions (12×3)
  • 3 seated dip (12×3)
  • 50 lb pull down (12×3)
  • 40 lb low row (12×3)

Monday: 1 hour on stationery bike

Tuesday: exact same as Sunday

Wednesday: 1 hour on bike & 5 minutes on rowing machine (really love that thing)

Tomorrow/Thursday, I’m gonna take a break. And Friday, I plan on going swimming because Fridays are always hard to get going, even more so when I take Thursday off. But swimming is always 100% thee best way to start a day. Whether you’re hungover, tired AF, super awake, super anything, swimming always feels good, and is always a thing I look forward to. So I’m sure, no matter what, that’ll get me going on Friday! And I’m already looking forward to it. I really love swimming, y’all.

Wednesday weigh in – 207.8 lbs. That is 3.2 lbs lost! If I lost that much every week, I could be at 160 lbs in 4 months. But I know it’s always easy to lose in the beginning, and then it gets kinda.. stuck. That’s the time when I usually quit and run off to Wings, Fries, & Beer Land. We’ll see if this journaling changes anything this time.

And yes, for the record, I know the scale doesn’t have to move. It’s just a good reference point for progress to be marked here, maybe I’ll come up with something else when it stops moving.

Sunday, March 4th

Sunday, March 4th

I did a buncha meal prepping yesterday. I’m still using Meal Mentors menu plan, but I decided to back up a week.

I didn’t take any photos because my phone doesn’t have the best camera. Especially with the lighting in my kitchen, I’m usually cooking at night. Even trying to take photos is frustrating.

That said, Marc had this “old” iPhone 7 laying around. I finally got annoyed enough by the unresponsiveness of my iPhone 5 to give up the small size for the huge. What I did NOT consider in making the switch is the great camera!

Take a look at my prepping in all it’s organized glory:

This screen is also so huge that I can use the WordPress app. Maybe I will actually post more? Time will tell.

Besides the meal prepping, I made my first attempt at homemade beauty products this weekend. I made face wash, hand soap, dry shampoo spray, and some sorta headache helper. I get headaches constantly, hoping this blend of essential oils will help. I have a lot more things on my list to try out, but I was running out of containers.

Wednesday, February 28th

For a while there, I was going to the gym daily. I would ride my bike into the office, walk the block over to the gym, work out, shower there, and then go to work and still be there early. After work, I’d get the added bonus of riding my bike home. It felt great, I felt great.. I don’t think I lost a ton of weight, but I did have more energy. Even when I was exhausted, I still did it because it was better than not doing it. Not doing it meant I’d have to get on a smelly bus and it’d take 3x as long to get to and from work.

At the end of August, I injured my foot and just stopped going. It hurt to walk some days, I didn’t want to injure myself further, so I laid off it. And then with winter, obviously, I welcomed the excuse to stop. It’s been almost 6 months now and my foot still hurts sometimes, still gets swollen when I walk too much/too hard. But I decided, fuck it, time to move on. I have an ice pack at work, I can ice it afterwards if it gets too swollen. I am not going to be a baby about this anymore. And maybe all I really need is to be active again. Stop taking the excuse and laying around on my butt.

So, in addition to posting about what I’m cooking/eating, I want to document my gym… doings? I’ll take whatever motivation I can get!

Here is my pro list of motivations, in case you were wondering. I love a good list:

  • Starting this year, my company will be covering half of my gym membership. But in order to get reimbursed, I have to submit proof of payment, monthly. It only took me submitting it, twice, to feel the guilt about not utilizing the membership.
  • As I mentioned earlier, no matter what mode of transportation I take… bike, uber, bus, Marc, it’s so much faster to get to that part of town at 6 am vs 8 am. The drive takes 10 minutes. Once I’m there, traffic can build up all it wants cause I’m only a block away from work now, suckers.
  • Marc has been going to the gym at least 3 times a week lately. He’s basically a gym rat and he looks great. I, however, have gone the opposite direction. And I need to stay on par with where he is, obviously.
  • My coworker just won a competition at her gym for being the person to show up to the most classes. She has gone literally every day for the last two months, with the exception of a snow day and maybe 1 other day. Inspiring!
  • The shower in my apartment sucks big ol hairy balls. It’s tinier than a closet, the pressure sucks, and I can’t take a shower for longer than 10 minutes without the water going cold. The showers at xSport in Piper’s alley are huge, have great water pressure, and are always so hot it could burn me… for a long time. Just the way I like it.
  • This one’s silly, but hey.. whatever works! I used to be signed up for the monthly BirchBox – $10, you get samples of beauty products. Which means I have an onslaught of travel sized products, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash. I can’t bring myself to throw them out without using em. What better way to use those babies up?
  • It is true what they say, when you start your day with exercise, it’s easier to make healthier eating choices. I know I said I was going to post about some of the recipes I made this week, but I’m already looking ahead to next week’s menu now. I only need to shop for like 5 ingredients and Iā€™m good to go.

Now that we’ve got the pro list out of the way, and my mind is starting to wander back to food… I want to develop some kind of accountability here. Here’s what’s happening this week with my routine. Remember this is a rough outline because it’s been six months since I’ve been doing this regularly, so let’s see how this goes:

Monday – I did 20 mins on the elliptical. And then, this is kind of what I used to do there, only with double the weights:

12 reps/3 sets each of the following:
Arm Extensions – 30 lb
Pull down – 40 lb
Low down – 45 lb
Seated dip – 3rd
Shoulder press – 2nd
Mid row – 4

Tuesday – 20 laps in the pool. My arms were real sore from the day before so I thought spinning them around in some water would be nice. I ended up cutting it shorter than I wanted, to go sit in the hot tub, but that was worth it.

Wednesday – I was not feeling it today!! But I got distracted trying to find a new audiobook to listen to, so I was still able to do 45 mins on a stationery bike.

Thursday – My foot actually really hurts right now and it’s supposed to snow in the morning/overnight, so I’m considering taking the morning off tomorrow. BUT even if I do, I can still do at least 30 minutes on the bike, at HOME!

Friday – I want to get on the weights again, we’ll see. The whole point of this list was to keep track of my progress on the weights.

Weigh-in – This is super embarrassing, but I’m at the point where anyone who looks at me can tell I’m fat, regardless of how hard I’m trying to hide it with my clothes. I’m just going to throw this out there as well. My current weight is 210 lb. A “normal” weight for someone of my height is 160 lbs, I don’t think I’ve ever been there before, but that means I’m technically obese. Maybe with some public accountability here, I can fix that. I plan to update here with my current weight each Wednesday. A Wednesday Weigh in, if you will. If I force myself to report it here, it’s a little more shameful when that number doesn’t go down.

So far, this is what we have: Sundays will be about obsessing about food. And Wednesdays will be about obsessing about my workouts and current weight. Got it? Got it. Good. I love stats!

Sunday, February 25th

by kandynet 0 Comments

Time to get back on the wagon. I fell off, hard. Whenever I don’t cook at home and opt to eat out, it’s great for a day or two, but after a while, I start to feel awful. Food really is the fuel of life and the best way to consume it is by home cooking.

I want to give credit to Meal Mentor. A couple years ago, I was feeling particularly uninspired on the cooking front. I had been trying this meal prep thing but was struggling with overbuying ingredients and then not cooking everything I’d planned to cook. Or making way too much of one thing and growing sick of it before I could finish it. So, I set out on a google search for a meal plan. There are a lot of options out there. And I tried some of them with not so great results.

Meal Mentor really was the best. It’s plant-based. So, first of all… I learned just how damn easy it is to cook plant-based meals. Groceries are cheaper, once you stock up on the basics of grains, beans, and legumes… all you’re really buying weekly is the produce. No expensive cheeses and meats, racking up the grocery bill. Storage is easier, you don’t have the same worries as having to eat meat within 3 days of cooking it, or dairy spoiling. Hell, I don’t even need to put my lunches in the fridge at work, if I don’t want to. But I swear, the most fun part is learning different ways to make cheese. I don’t miss cheese at all. AND I don’t feel like a dead animal is trying to climb out of my belly, after eating a plant-based cheese.

There is a monthly charge for this site, it’s $19.99/mo or $179 for an annual membership. I love it so much, I opted for the annual. I do not mind paying this fee at all because 1. I am saving a boat load on groceries (when I actually follow the plan). 2. She donates a portion of her proceeds to elephant charities. I LOVE THAT! The annual membership also comes with access to their Facebook group, which is full of amazingly supportive people. I’ve learned so much about vegan cooking from these meal plans, but also from that group. For instance, just today, I learned that freezing guacamole is a possibility. Who knew?

All that said, I have cooked the last meal plan for this week and am planning to share everything here. Today, I made a thing called a breakfast brownie, it’s just a brownie made with banana and oats instead of the regular flour and whatever.. eggs? But also, this incredibly simple soup that I thoroughly enjoyed called Thai Noodle Soup.

All it is is noodle, veggy stock, soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, miso paste, and some ginger. I threw a sliced up jalapeno in there for some extra crunch. It’s delicious! And so so so simple to make.

Marc is planning on making pizza for dinner, so that will not be a meal mentor recipe, but I will try to share more this week!

I also want to attempt to remember teas that I’m drinking that I enjoy, because there are so many out there that I forget what I like. So, for today, it is this:

Simple Loose Leaf: Downy Jasmine. 9/10

Monday, October 23rd

Monday, October 23rd

by kandynet 0 Comments

Breakfast: I made pumpkin overnight oats, but forgot to take a photo. Good news is, I’m having the same damn thing for breakfast tomorrow morning, so I’ll take a photo then.

Lunch: I made this veggy soup last Sunday, but the nice thing about non-meat/dairy leftovers is the last longer! This baby’s got: cabbage, potatoes, zucchinis, green beans, carrots, tomatoes, etc. I actually can’t remember everything that’s in there, kinda a dump pot of food I had in the fridge.

Dinner: It’s that time of year again. The time for lots of big bowls of soups and stews. Marc made this beef stew, garlic bread for dipping, and that white stuff is sour cream with a little horse radish in it.